Today, the whole world commemorates the International Day of Cooperatives (#CoopsDay), a day set aside to raise awareness about cooperatives and to advance the cooperative movement’s principles of worldwide solidarity, economic efficiency, equality, and global peace. With the theme: “Rebuild Better Together”, the day will highlight how a human-centered business model based on cooperative values of self-help and unity, as well as moral standards of social responsibility, can reduce inequality, start creating shared prosperity, and react appropriately to the immediate effects of COVID-19. It will be a platform to showcase how cooperatives around the world are meeting the COVID-19 pandemic crisis with solidarity and resilience and offering communities a people-centered recovery.

According to the International Cooperative Alliance, cooperatives, through self-help and empowerment, reinvesting in their communities and concern for the well-being of people and the world in which we live, nurture a long-term vision for sustainable economic growth, social development and environmental responsibility. As an organization, DDI understood early the importance of taking the cooperative route to a sustainable recovery from a globally ravaging pandemic. At the onset of the 2020 wet planting season which coincided with the onset of covid-19 and its attendant movement restrictions, Nigerian farmers were faced with the challenges of a rise in prices and scarcity of essential agricultural inputs. DDI, through the United States African Development Foundation (USADF), Capital for African Resilience-building and Enterprises Support (C.A.R.E.S) COVID-19 Program, facilitated the provision of grant support to 19 agricultural and agro-allied cooperatives to mitigate these serious socio-economic uncertainties and put them on a path where they can rebuild better together. The USADF-funded CARES program was launched in April 2020 to provide financial and technical support for African enterprises and entrepreneurs to cushion the devastating impact that COVID-19 will most likely have on the African economy.

It is often said that to go fast, you have to go alone, and to go far, you have to go together. However, to go fast and far at the same time, join a cooperative society. With continued support and investment, DDI believes that Cooperatives – by their very model and cooperative principles – will respond faster to the COVID-19 pandemic with solidarity and resilience, provide communities with a people-centered and ecologically fair recovery, and help them grow stronger in the post-pandemic world. On this #Coopsday 2021, DDI is calling on all cooperators and stakeholders around the world to show the world how we can Rebuild better together.

Happy International Day of Cooperatives.